Violets. Lots of violets. There are eleven different ones that grow in our part of the universe. I am sure that there are seven different ones in the village. As I explore more this spring I hope to confirm that number and perhaps add to it. The downy yellow violets are the easy ones. They are the only yellow ones we have here. Of the white varieties, I have seen two of the three. In the woods on the east side of the land, east of Prairie Wind, there is a carpet of Canadian White Violets. On the other side of the river, the Small White Violets are tucked in on the north side of a hill, tiny in comparison to the others. There is one other white kind, Sweet White violets, which are very similar to the Small whites. I need to peer closer at some of those!
That leaves the biggest group, the blue/purple violets. Keeping in mind that some of those can also have white blossoms also, there are three main ways to tell blue/purple violets apart. The most obvious is location. Some thrive in dry places, some in wet, most in the shade. The second is the presence or absence of a beard. Fine little white hairs on the side petals. A magnifying glass is handy at that point. And then there is whether or not the flower is on a stem by itself, or on a leaf stem with other leaves and blossoms.
So I have a "cheat sheet" that I am carrying with me. It lists the basics of violet identification. If I still don't have a positive ID I can at least get a good photo of the parts in question and try to sort it out when I can blow them up on the computer screen. So far I have seen (this year) Marsh blue, Northern Bog, Dog, and Common violets on village land. I have seen Prairie violets just north of here on the prairie by Midway Gas.
Other new blooms out there...Blue Cohosh, Naked MIterwort, Three Leaved False Solomons Seal. The complete list is in the shed on the white board.